THE PHILIPPINES’ government has said there can be “no compromise” when it comes to the protection of human rights and human dignity during a regional Asean meeting.
During a session with the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) at the bloc’s annual Regional Forum on Friday, the Philippines emphasised the need to continue to promote human rights without politicising the issue.
“When it comes to human rights and the dignity of human life, there can be no compromise,” said the Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, as quoted by the Manilla Bulletin.
The Philippines government under President Rodrigo Duterte has been the target of international criticism by human rights groups as well as locally by the Catholic church for a bloody war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives, as well as the recent declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Late last year, Duterte declared Islamic State militants could “forget human rights” if they sought to fight in the Philippines.
“I will not just simply allow my people to be slaughtered for the sake of human rights, that’s bullshit.” – Duterte
During the meeting on Friday, the AICHR reported to member states the region’s progress on human rights issues according to the Asean Human Rights Declaration.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi praised AICHR’s work in advancing human rights protection, emphasising regional cooperation on the issues of terrorism, the rights of migrant workers and democracy was vital.
“The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights must improve understanding of human rights in the Asean community,” Retno said as quoted by Berita Satu.
“Through positive support from all parties, the AICHR can support the creation of peace, security and democracy and equitable development in the Southeast Asian region.”
Indonesia, however, has come in for much human rights criticism itself.
At the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in May, states parties expressed concern on a range of issues including the persecution of religious minorities and the LGBT community, as well as Indonesia’s continued use of the death penalty.
The government recently said it would likely reject most of the Council’s recommendations.